ORAN KEARNEY admits he has to take his share of the blame for St Mirren’s ongoing struggles despite walking into a “s***storm” when he became manager.
Kearney succeeded Alan Stubbs in September after the former Hibs boss was sacked after just three months in charge. The Northern Irishman has completely overhauled his squad in the last five months, signing 14 players and letting 15 move on.
Saints, though, are still bottom of the Premiership and on Saturday were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Championship side Dundee United. Kearney says it’s not been an easy time but admits he has been at fault, too.
He said: “To get this kind of opportunity I knew it wasn’t going to be 100-per-cent [perfect] when I walked in the door. And that’s probably the biggest understatement I’ve made in my life!
“It was a bit of a s***storm when I first arrived and we’re still trying to come out the other side of that. The ripples and after-effects will be felt for a while yet. We’ve made changes and tried our best to make a dent to turn things around but to do that in the middle of a season has been tough.
“I know that I’ll be judged on the football aspect of it and I take full responsibility for the time that I’ve been here. I’m not going to shirk that or say none of it is my doing. All I can do is my best to make us as combative as we can.”
Kearney has divided opinion among St Mirren fans, with some believing he is out of his depth and others wanting to see him given more time. The manager asked the doubters not to give up hope just yet.
He added: “I know what social media is like – whether it’s Brexit or whatever else, people will always want to comment and give their opinions. And our fans are entitled to that, too.
“But there’s a long way to go this season so I hope they don’t lose heart. We’re in a scrap and a dogfight. We have 13 games left to try to secure our safety and we’re only three points from the play-off spot and six from overall safety. In the last five games we play everyone around us so there could be a huge turnaround even in that short spell. It’s by no means over.”
Kearney admitted he was still getting to grips with the Scottish FA’s disciplinary system but would have no complaints if Paul McGinn was offered a ban for elbowing former team-mate Cammy Smith on Saturday. The full-back was booked at the time but the incident seems certain to be reviewed by the compliance officer.
Kearney added: “The rules seem to say that if the referee has seen the incident during the game and deemed it worth a yellow card then that should be the end of it. My interpretation of that is the referee only acts if he missed something or was unaware of it at the time.
“At that time I thought it looked clumsy from Paul but I’ve watched it back now and it doesn’t look good. I’ve spoken to Paul and it doesn’t look as favourable as I had thought in my first interpretation. So if something was to happen on that front with the video evidence is available then it doesn’t look good.”